HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
NASA probe could reveal comet life, scientists claim

Cardiff (UK) scientists are playing a major role in a NASA mission, which they believe could reveal living matter in the icy layers beneath the surface of a comet.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will make a historic encounter with Comet Tempel-1 on 4th July, when a metre-long projectile will crash into the comet and tunnel through its outer layers, producing a crater and a plume of gas and dust.

UK astronomers involved in monitoring the comet before, during and after the impact and interpreting the results include Cardiff University's Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr Max Wallis at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology. They will conduct their study through instruments on the mother spacecraft.

The Cardiff scientists predict that Deep Impact will verify their theory that the outer crust of the comet will consist of asphalt-like material with permafrost beneath. The small icy fragments blasted out by the impact will include organic matter, they suggest.

The mainly copper projectile will hit the comet at 25,000 miles per hour and will penetrate 15-20 metres into the surface before exploding. The comet will remain intact despite losing a huge amount of material 100,000 tonnes from a 100 metre diameter crater, and the impact is not expected to alter the comet's orbit.

"Not only is Deep Impact a spectacular experiment, it is also a test for our long-standing arguments," added Professor Wickramasinghe. "It will show, we believe, that a comet is not a rubble pile, nor a conglomerate of ices, but a porous mass of organics and ice under the black asphalt crust."

Comets are thought to have accumulated from a mixture of ices and organic interstellar dust at the time the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

"This material is quite porous, so it is daring again to predict that subsurface ponds or lakes form transiently due to heat penetrating the exterior crust. We can thus expect biology on c
'"/>

Contact: Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe
Wickramasinghe@cardiff.ac.uk
44-29-2087-4201
Cardiff University
29-Jun-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Swarming starlings help probe plasma, crowds and stock market
2. Anthrax bacteriums deadly secrets probed
3. Measuring the unseeable: Penn researchers probe proteins dark energy
4. Researchers probe risks, benefits of folic acid fortification
5. MIT researchers probe bones tiny building blocks
6. Study to probe how healthy younger adults make use of genetic tests
7. York mathematician probes geometric route to combat viruses
8. Penn scientists engineer small molecules to probe proteins deep inside cell membrane
9. Simulated populations used to probe gene mapping
10. Super small nanoelectrodes can probe microscale environments
11. Prototype space probe prepares to explore Earths deepest sinkhole

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: NASA probe could reveal comet life scientists claim

(Date:4/18/2014)... researchers have published soil organic carbon sequestration rates. ... organic carbon can be sequestered by simply switching from ... there is a growing body of research with evidence ... cover crops, small grains, and forages may not be ... , "Some studies have shown that both moldboard and ...
(Date:4/18/2014)... Durham, NC Seeds that sprout as soon as they,re ... plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a ... rainy day would risk disaster. More than just an insurance ... out that seed dormancy has long-term advantages too: Plants ... give rise to more species, finds in a team of ...
(Date:4/18/2014)... led by a University of California, Riverside professor of ... Department of Defense grant to uncover fundamental design rules ... predictable design of light-weight, tough and strong advanced materials ... and animals, including the mantis shrimp, toucan and bamboo. ... over millions of years and coming up with design ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Researchers question published no-till soil organic carbon sequestration rates 2Researchers question published no-till soil organic carbon sequestration rates 3Researchers question published no-till soil organic carbon sequestration rates 4Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species 2Mantis shrimp, toucan and trilobite, oh my 2Mantis shrimp, toucan and trilobite, oh my 3
(Date:1/15/2014)... Cynvenio, a cancer diagnostics company focused ... analysis of tumor cells in the bloodstream, today announced ... decision support application powered by CollabRx, Inc. , ... test, Therapy Finder will provide breast cancer patients and ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... More than 5 million Americans are ... 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, ... have shocked many Americans into looking for ways to ... tragic age-related cognitive disorders. Jonathan Weisman, president of Biohack ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... Freeslate, Inc ., the leading provider of ... one of India’s top five pharmaceutical companies, has received ... for high throughput solid form screening. , Lupin, ... range of quality, affordable generic and branded formulations and ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... 2014 Histogen, Inc., a regenerative medicine ... grown under simulated embryonic conditions, today announced that they ... Medical, Inc. for physician-dispensed aesthetic products containing Histogen’s proprietary ... agreement is an amendment to the existing license between ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Cynvenio Offers New Breast Cancer Therapy Finder Application for its ClearID Breast Cancer Genomic Test 2Cynvenio Offers New Breast Cancer Therapy Finder Application for its ClearID Breast Cancer Genomic Test 3Biohack Pure Offers 5 Tips for Increasing Memory in 2014 2Lupin Selects Freeslate’s CM Protégé PharmD System to Accelerate Polymorph Screening for Drug Development 2Lupin Selects Freeslate’s CM Protégé PharmD System to Accelerate Polymorph Screening for Drug Development 3Histogen and Suneva Medical Expand License for Cell Conditioned Media-based Aesthetic Products Internationally 2Histogen and Suneva Medical Expand License for Cell Conditioned Media-based Aesthetic Products Internationally 3
Cached News: